The Volk’s Electric Railway was built by Magnus Volk, the first section being completed in August 1883, and is the oldest operational electric railway in the world.
The line runs between terminal stations at Aquarium (a short distance from the Palace Pier) and Black Rock (at Black Rock, not far from Brighton Marina), with an intermediate station and depot at Halfway. ….More here
I am ashamed to say that I have only ever ridden the Volks Electric train once since 1987. I’ve seen it many times, and I have walked along the track in winter seasons when the train is stored away for the winter.
I have taken many photos of the line disappearing into the distance over the years, but none have ever been that great or good enough to work on as a composition piece. Until now….!
It was really foggy one morning earlier this year. I was out and about early getting some shots of the seafront and the mist over the West Pier. I took a ride up Maderia Drive to check out what the fog was doing up there, and that’s when I noticed the statue of Steve Ovett, the Olympic gold medalist runner from the 1980s. There was a bit of mist at the base of the statue, I walked over and saw the Folks rail track and could see that in the distance, as the track disappeared into a single-point perspective, the fog was obscuring the vista. It looked great, I had to snap it, so got down onto the track (through the proper gateway of course). And got the camera as low as I could and snapped this photo here.
The Unfortunate Mist
Sadly, the mist and fog didn’t turn out that well, but the perspective and clarity did.
I love doing train track shots! There is something of a mystery, a long journey, and an unknown destination that fascinates me. I’ve taken railroad track photos all over the places, from the jungle in Northern to Sri Lanka, Bangkok Sukhumvit line in. Sweeden, France, and loads more, not are that great, I did them for me and not for publications.
But The Folks, although just one track that goes up and down the seafront in Brighton, has the same effect on the journeyman in me.
The Look & Feel
I have a technique in photoshop that the seasoned pros are trying to get me to reveal. It’s my own method of creating atmospheric fog and eerie mist effects. It’s taken me over two decades to get this one right, so, I’m not about to reveal anything too soon. I may make a youtube tutorial about it sometime.
There are multiple ways of creating mist and fog. There are plugins, and brushes, and Luminar has a filter. But for me, I stick to the old-school ways of gradient layers, masks, and opacity variations. It takes a long time to achieve the right look and feel, but once you have, nothing else comes close.
As with ‘The Folks’, I had (like all my work) a finished composition look and feel in mind. I feel like I got what I wanted with ‘The Folks’ …and may she keep on going for another 100 years.
Own This Print
Printed on Hahnemühle Printing Paper
Hahnemühle’s authentic Fine Art paper is regarded as top-of-the-line. It is often used for exhibitions and limited-edition art prints. All Hahnemühle papers have been certified by independent institutes to be highly resistant to aging and are vegan, in order to meet the highest requirements.
Also available as a digital download for £10